How to Develop True Fans of Your Music
Developing Fans in this Market
So a lot of people seem to think that the Music Business is becoming on of the worst businesses to be in... Well I guess that is some what true, but it's not specifically the Music Business that is going broke it is the Record Business. The height of the Record Industry was the early 2000's, in 2002 alone the Record Industry had a reported income of $14 Billion and in 2010 that amount had dropped to only $6 Billion that may still seem like a lot but that means that more than 60% of income had disappeared in 8 years.
That being said top notch artists are still making a killing: both on the road and in record sales. Think about Coldplay, their most recent release sold just over 500,000 copies in a week, although that is more or less unheard of nowadays they still made more than $300,000 USD on music licensing alone (that is they will have when they get paid in 6 months for it). So band's like Coldplay are still doing okay, but lets talk about the little guy.
Although the world might be tightening their purse strings, people are still willing to spend money on entertainment (the most recent Harry Potter movie made just over $1.3 Billion in box office sales). So if the money is out there why aren't people spending it on music? Since Napster and Kazaa, the record industry has been struggling to convince people to buy phonorecords, all sales methods accept for iTunes have failed to produce any reasonable type of sales. I would argue that Recorded Music isn't the way of the future, not that CD's won't continue to sell in the near future, but artists are going to have to look to other means for sustenance before to long.
Merch. sales have and probably always will be a lucrative business for musicians, from the Grateful Dead to your local supporting act; merchandise is a win-win for everyone. Fans get the feeling of closeness to the band as well as getting to chose what memorabilia they choose, and the bands get a steady stream of income with limited out-of-pocket expense.
Merchandise also allows for direct to fan interaction, which bolsters the willingness for fans to support the band in the future. This theory of direct-to-fan leads to the theory of 1000 true fans.
Play For True Fans
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1000 True Fans
How much is reasonable for a fan to spend on a band that they really like? Would $50 be too much? Most people wouldn't think so, $50 seems like a reasonable amount to expect a fan to pay for merchandise, music concert tickets, etc. The fans that are willing to spend $50 dollars a year could be called True Fans or Super Fans, put together 1,000 of them and you have an income of $50,000 a year which is enough for a comfortable living. The theory of 1,000 True Fans says that if you have enough fans willing to give you a steady amount of money an artist can live their whole life comfortably.
Not to say that it has to be 1,000 fans it could be 50 or as many as 10,000, as long as a band or artist has enough "Super Fans" they can live comfortably. Comfortably is the key word there, the artist isn't going to be rolling in the dough, but they will be able to live without begging on the street corner. Obviously the larger the band the more fans/money the band needs to keep a float, but the theory still applies.
To keep these 1,000 True Fans happy the artist need to engage them through methods such as Direct to Fan. The theory of Direct to Fan is that fans of a band will feel more connected and willing to spend money on a band if the artists reach out to them through means such as Social Media, Meet and Greets, or websites such as Stickam (video chat) or Kick Starter.
Kick Starter is a revolutionary website that allows fans to donate money to an artist which allows them to complete albums, go on tour, what ever the band needs. In return the fans can receive personalized attention from the band. From handmade tee-shirts, to free CD's and concert tickets, artist can give away prizes of little value to them but great value to fans.
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